My personal history:
I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois. My parents instilled in me the value of hard work. I remember to this day what my parents and grand parents kept telling me….”the secret of success is a four letter word..WORK”. They also instilled in me their value system of giving back to the community and doing more than your fair share in anything you do. They also instilled in me by example the value of religion. There was no exception to going to church every week. It simply was what we did as a family. To this day I have tried to live up to their expectations of me.
I started working after school when I was in the fourth grade and continued to work part time all through high school and college.
I met my wife, Sondra, while we were in high school. She invited me to a Sadie Hawkins dance. Three years after high school we were married and have been best friends for the last 51 plus years. We have been blessed by two wonderful children, three grandsons and two granddaughters. Our lives revolve around our family and our faith.
I always wanted to fly airplanes. While in college I received my pilot’s rating and continued to pursue flying as my life’s goal. I received my bachelor and master’s degrees while trying to get hired by the airlines. It was hard to get an airline job because most of the positions were being filled by military pilots coming back from Vietnam. I was teaching school, coaching basketball, and preparing to be a school administrator while waiting to get “that airline” job. I continued to work and also became an airplane instrument flight instructor. I instructed many students that went on to become Air Force pilots.
As time went on I continued to pursue an airline position. Since that was not happening I started on my PhD work and was hired as one of the youngest public secondary school principals in Illinois. After about ten years as a school administrator, we decided that if I was ever going to get to be an airline pilot, I needed more heavy jet time. I interviewed and was hired by Miles Laboratories as a pilot. We moved to Elkhart, Indiana, and I started flying jets all over North America.
After eight years of commercial flying, I finally realized that my dream of being an airline pilot was not going to happen. What I really wanted was to have my own business. I started my own paper processing distributorship and have never looked back. We are celebrating twenty-nine successful years in business this year.
During my thirty-one years in business I have developed many ties to our community. We have been active in our church and community. We have been involved in helping others through our involvement in service clubs.
All during my various careers, my wife continued to be a full time school teacher and department chairman. She finally retired after 37 years in education. I continue to own my business, but it is run by my employees. We have reared two fine children and have been blessed with three grandsons and two granddaughters. Life is wonderful.